For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Poughkeepsie… Countless residents throughout Dutchess County have chosen to #ThinkDIFFERENTLY and enhance the lives of those living with special needs. Those contributions will be recognized at Dutchess Stadium in early August, with the presentation of the “Pulling Each Other Along” Award, part of the third annual Disability, Dream & Do (D3) baseball weekend for children and young adults of every ability.
Through Monday, July 29, nominations are being accepted for the “Pulling Each Other Along” Award, which recognizes the notable contributions of those who have selflessly helped others in the disability community. Presented by the Dave Clark Foundation, the award is a highlight of the D3 weekend at Dutchess Stadium, which includes a free baseball camp for those with special needs on Saturday, Aug. 3 and the award presentation on Sunday, Aug. 4 prior to the Hudson Valley Renegades’ game against the visiting West Virginia Black Bears.
County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “We in Dutchess County are fortunate to have so many who assist our friends and neighbors with disabilities reach their full potential. While these dedicated men and women often work in relative anonymity, the ‘Pulling Each Other Along’ Award is a great opportunity to recognize the amazing work they do each day. We look forward to receiving many nominations for the award and honoring the tremendous efforts of those in our special-needs community.”
The award is presented by the Dave Clark Foundation, which operates the D3 Baseball Weekend. The foundation’s co-founder, Corning native Dave Clark, was diagnosed with polio as a child and needed the assistance of crutches and leg braces to walk. As a first-grader, Mr. Clark was filled with anxiety when his class was scheduled to take a field trip, walking several blocks away from their school. A classmate selflessly brought his Radio Flyer wagon to pull Mr. Clark along alongside his classmates. The “Pulling Each Other Along” Award is a testament to the generosity and altruism of those, like Mr. Pound, who contribute to special-needs community.
Mr. Clark said, “Just like Ernie Pound pulled me along years ago, I’ve seen many in Dutchess County, including those who have come to our Disability, Dream & Do camps, who share their time and talents to enhance the lives of those living with special needs. Our award looks to highlight those whose work often goes unseen, yet still makes a difference to those they touch.”
The third annual D3 Baseball Camp at Dutchess Stadium, which takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3, allows children and young adults of all abilities to learn the game of baseball alongside professional players and coaches from the Hudson Valley Renegades, a minor-league affiliate of the American League’s Tampa Bay Rays. Reservations for this free event can be made online at d3day.com; participants will receive a complimentary T-shirt, hat, lunch and tickets to the Renegades’ game on Sunday, Aug. 4.
Renegades Team President and General Manager Steve Gliner said, “We can all draw inspiration from Dave Clark’s story of perseverance and determination, and we look forward to honoring those whose selflessness helps those with special needs continue to achieve.”
In 2015, County Executive Molinaro established the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, which looks to foster a more inclusive community for Dutchess County residents with special needs. Since then, Dutchess County has taken numerous steps to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” about residents with special needs, including funding, through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, several projects featuring accessible infrastructure; partnering with the Anderson Center for Autism to provide free Autism Supportive Environment training to businesses; appointing Dutchess County’s Deputy Commissioner of Special Needs, the first such position of its kind in the state; and expanding educational and job opportunities.
Since July 2016, more than 100 towns, villages and cities throughout New York State have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, pledging to offer a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals of all abilities. Information about Dutchess County’s efforts to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” as well as how other communities can adapt the initiative to their specifics needs, is available at thinkdifferently.net.